Down hurling boss Sheehan alleges players faced sectarian abuse in Carlow match

Alleged abuse only brought to manager’s attention in dressingroom after Division 2A clash

What should have been something memorable for Down hurling with Sunday's Division 2A win over Carlow in the Allianz Hurling League instead left a sour taste after Down manager Ronan Sheehan alleged his players were on the receiving end of sectarian and other verbal abuse throughout the game.

Played at home in Ballycran, Down won the game 2-10 to Carlow’s 1-11, the opening two points keeping alive their potential for promotion. However, afterwards their manager responded to a Tweet of congratulations from Down GAA, stating: “Thanks extremely disappointing to come into dressing room to hear my players were being called prods, brits and black b#stards throughout the game . . . no place in the GAA for that.”

Sheehan also raised the matter with RTÉ Sport afterwards, stating the alleged verbal abuse come from Carlow players, and only brought to his attention when team returned to the dressingroom after the game.

“It may only be loose words for the person saying them,” said Sheehan, “but it does impact on players given who they are and what some of their families endured to play our national games.

“If we had lost today, I would have said nothing as people would say it was only sour grapes but when we won, I thought it was important to highlight [it] as it’s an insult to Gaels up here.”

Carlow GAA also released a statement to RTÉ on the matter, via Jim Bolger, chairperson of Carlow GAA: "Carlow GAA are committed to upholding the principles of Anti-Sectarianism and Anti-Racism. All related reports/allegations are investigated and action taken as appropriate."

According to the GAA rulebook, sectarian abuse during the course of play is a red-card offence, which may carry a two-game ban, if witnessed by the referee or one of their officials.

The game had ended in dramatic style after a late, late goal by Marc Fisher ensured Down came away with the two points. Carlow had moved ahead approaching the end of normal time when John Michael Nolan scored their only goal, still leaving time however for Fisher to fire home the winner.

The Mayo football management are awaiting injury updates on defender Eoghan McLaughlin, who left the field on a stretcher shortly after half-time in Sunday’s narrow division one win over Monaghan at Clones.

McLaughlin missed Mayo’s All-Ireland showdown against Tyrone last summer after sustaining a double jaw fracture in the semi-final win over Dublin, and looks likely to miss some league time too depending on the exact nature of the injury.

Last week Mayo football management confirmed the loss for 2022 of forward and playmaker Tommy Conroy, after he sustained a cruciate ligament injury while playing with NUI Galway in the Sigerson Cup quarter-final

Last Saturday evening’s Allianz Football League meeting between Kerry and Dublin was the second most watched live sporting event on RTÉ last weekend. An average of 444,000 viewers tuned in to the Saturday GAA Live coverage of the game on RTÉ2 with a share of 35 per cent. Viewership peaked at 494,000 at 8.12pm.

Most watched was Ireland getting their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start on Saturday against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. An average of 729,000 viewers tuned in to RTÉ2 with a share of 66 per cent of those watching TV at the time. Viewing peaked at 4.07pm with 841,000 watching.

The Dublin Racing Festival from Leopardstown on Saturday on RTÉ One had an average audience of 83,000 with a share of 9 per cent while Sunday’s Leopardstown racing, also on RTÉ One averaged 108,000 with a 14 per cent share.

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